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Five ways to support spelling

As you work through a rich curriculum, you’ll constantly introduce learners to new vocabulary. Sometimes this will happen at such a fast pace that little time is given for the words to be internalised and for connections to other similar or subject-specific vocabulary to be realised. By using these strategies in your lesson plans, you’ll increase the chances of new words ‘sticking’ in your learner’s lexicon.

1. Find patterns

Find patterns in either the word’s sounds or what it looks like written down. Grouping words togethers helps build connections and adds context, and reduces the overall amount the brain needs to remember. This is called chunking

2. Use mnemonics

Creating a memorable sentence, often humorous, is easier for a learner to remember than a string of letters. These are particularly helpful for words that don’t have obvious sounds or visual patterns.

3. Sounding-out and syllables

Phonological awareness is a persistent difficulty for learners with literacy difficulties, but breaking down words can be unpopular as learners get older. However, counting out syllables in words can still be helpful – when checking if a word is spelt correctly, if there aren’t enough syllables the child knows they’ve gone wrong somewhere.

4. Words in context

Adding meaning to words by looking up their definition or finding them in books allows the learner to see them as part of a sentence. Learning words from lists means they remain a collection of letters rather than words. 

5. Little and often

Limit activities to 5-10 minutes a day but repeat key words regularly. Repetition is important to children who struggle with spelling as it takes much longer for their brains to store these words and recall them automatically.

Find more strategies, frameworks and tips in our resources hub – home to over 50 free resources for teachers, leaders and SENCos.

Join the October cohort of our ‘Creating Champions for Literacy Difficulties’ course; a six-week blended-learning programme hosted on our new online learning hub. Find out more.

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